Brain aging is inevitable to some extent, but not uniform; it affects everyone, or every brain, differently. Slowing down brain aging or stopping it altogether would be the ultimate elixir to achieve eternal youth. Is brain aging a slippery slope that we need to accept? Or are there steps we can take to reduce the rate of decline?
At around 3 pounds in weight, the human brain is a staggering feat of engineering with around 100 billion neuronsTrusted Source interconnected via trillions of synapses.
Throughout our lifetime our brain changes more than any other part of our body. From the moment the brain begins to develop in the third week of gestation to old age, its complex structures and functions are changing, networks and pathways connecting and severing.
During the first few years of life, a child’s brain forms more than 1 million new neural connections every second. The size of the brain increases fourfold in the preschool period and by age 6 reaches around 90 percentTrusted Source of adult volume.
The frontal lobes – the area of the brain responsible for executive functions, such as planning, working memory, and impulse control – are among the last areas of the brain to mature, and they may not be fully developed until 35 years of ageTrusted Source.
Normal brain aging
As we age, all our body systems gradually decline – including the brain. “Slips of the mind” are associated with getting older. People often experienced those same slight memory lapses in their 20s and yet did not give it a second thought.
Older individuals often become anxious about memory slips due to the link between impaired memory and Alzheimer’s disease. However, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are not a part of the normal aging process.
Common memory changes that are associated with normal aging include:
1. Difficulty learning something new: Committing new information to memory can take longer.
2. Multitasking: Slowed processing can make processing and planning parallel tasks more difficult
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